Turkish Weddings

Today our guide gave us a little insight into the wedding procedures of the Turkish people.  She said that even though many young couples are now living together (not that their parents are happy about it) when it comes to getting married it happens the same way – whether you are religious or not, conservative or progressive, from the country or city.

Though there are no arranged marriages these days, the parents often do ‘suggest’ a match though the young adults can say no.  If a couple get together themselves then they don’t introduce their partner to their parents until they are considering marriage.   I found this particularly ‘funny’ in that many couples are not choosing to get married for 10 years or so of living together – not sure how you can keep your partners existence from your parents for that long!!  I think it has more to do with the older generation accepting where the young people are at today.

Anyway if they decide to get married, then it is a big day when everyone meets the potential inlaws.  The grooms family is expected to bring gifts – chocolate and/or flowers.  The bride is expected to show her gifts / skills in cooking, crocheting and carpet making.  Every Turkish girl can do these things – especially in the rural areas.  After the chit chat is over the girl leaves the room and leaves her oldest male relative to talk with the grooms family.  He then comes out to ask the girl if she is happy and then goes back into the room to confirm that yes the marriage will go ahead.  The girl comes back into the room, greets everyone with a kiss and then serves coffee to everyone.

But there is a catch – the coffee she serves her intended – the last person she serves is to be as disgusting as she can make it.  She adds salt, lemon juice and anything else she can find in the kitchen into his coffee and then serves him.  Everyone knows it is disgusting but no one says a word.  It is like a test for the groom.  If he drinks it all he will be a good, patient husband and the marriage will be a good one.  If though he stops and cannot drink it then the quality of the marriage is estimated based on how much he managed to swallow.  Our driver tells us that he managed to drink all his coffee!!

At this stage the couple are deemed engaged.  Their engagement period lasts for as long as they need to get married.  Even if they are religious their marriage  ceremony needs to be civil for it to be legal.  They can have an Imran do a 10min ceremony quoting the Koran and then the mayor does the proper ceremony.

Turkish brides wear white – and most these days are western wedding dresses.  The only difference would be a red ribbon around her waist indicating her purity.   Most wedding parties start around 7.00pm and last for a few hours.  Wedding gifts are money – and you are photographed giving because what you give will be given to you at either your wedding or next special event!  So much for giving from the heart!!


7 thoughts on “Turkish Weddings

  1. Loved this story Belinda – an interesting insight and different to what one thinks happens in families that move to Australia. And I LOVE the coffee idea – just as well the groom knows that will happen otherwise I’m sure no one would get past the first mouthfull – shades of youth camp tricks!!

  2. Belinda – my whole family are so enjoying ‘being a part’ of your amazing holiday. Infact I copy all your posts and share them at devotion time in the morning. We all look forward to them!! So far the children’s favorite has been Jessica’s post about the underground cities….how amazing!! I’ve loved them all :)). I even went out and got some Drive Thru History DVD’s…. how great are they? I’d never heard about them, and we love Focus on the Family….anyway, a winner here too!!
    You’re children’s well written and informative blogs, are ‘wetting the apetite’ of my children…encouraging their curiosity, leading to more research about things….how cool!!
    Thanks Belinda….wanted to let you know and encourage you all….looking forward to the next stop…..Liliane 🙂 (aka Lou Lou from FB – although I’m not on anymore lol)

    • Hi Liliane – thanks for dropping us a note. It is fun knowing who is reading our blog. How neat that it is encouraging your kids curiosity and investigations. Good on you for dropping fb – the girls and I are trying to keep off for the time we are away. I’m just linking our blogs there and that is all. It is good to have a break.

  3. We have always lived in poorer more conservative areas. They couples would NEVER live together before marriage. After they are married they live with the husband’s family. The marriages are basically arranged. The father picks, or the eldest brother if the father isn’t alive. They meet each other one time with the family present and then are allowed to say no. I have never heard of anyone saying no even when the spouse was extremely not good looking. Their families chose and they know best. At the wedding you pin the money to them. We did the same thing at the engagement party.

  4. That’s funny about the coffee!
    Photographing the wedding money so you can pay the people back reminds me of the golden rule: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

  5. Ariya said “If my Daddy was in Turkey and had to try the yucky coffee he would have to spit it out! Thank you for your interesting story. Love from Ariya.”

    Hi Belinda, love the coffee story. The gifts of money sounds just like Thailand. Every amount is written in a book so they can give the same or more back when they attend a wedding in return. Andrew

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